Iconic Cinerama Dome and multiplex to reopen

Exterior view of the Arclight Hollywood and Cinerama Dome
The Cinerama Dome has been closed since the start of the pandemic.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Cinerama Dome and the attached theater complex formerly known as ArcLight Hollywood plans to reopen, two people familiar with the matter told The Times on Friday.

There was no timetable for a potential reopening date, although one source who was not authorized to comment publicly said it could be as early as next year.

The owner of the iconic venue, Decurion Corp., could not be reached for comment.

A public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages was placed outside the dome Thursday, under the name DT Operator LLC. DT Operator is a holding company for Decurion Corporation. The notice caught the attention of Twitter users on Friday, including the Save Arclight Cinemas account.


Records from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control show multiple permit applications were placed on Nov. 22, including permits for catering, a portable bar, events and a “general eating place.” All permits were still pending as of Friday.

The dome has been closed since the start of the pandemic. On April 12 of this year, Pacific Theatres announced it would not reopen the historic venue, or its other theaters, due to financial pressures caused by the pandemic.

“After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres locations,” Pacific Theatres said in a statement. “This was not the outcome anyone wanted, but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.”

Calls to save the Hollywood ArcLight were loud and long. AMC Entertainment previously said it was interested in buying cinema locations formerly operated by ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres. A spokesperson for the chain said Friday that AMC was not involved with the reopening of the Cinerama Dome or the adjacent 14-screen Hollywood theater location on Sunset Boulevard.

AMC recently reopened the highly trafficked former Pacific Theatres locations at the Americana at Brand in Glendale and the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles. Regal, AMC’s largest rival, took over the lease of the ArcLight location in Sherman Oaks.

Pacific Theatres in June filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to liquidate its remaining assets. The ArcLight brand, which was founded in 2002 and became known for pioneering the sale of alcoholic beverages and gourmet food in theater lobbies, had 11 locations, including six in the Los Angeles area. Pacific had six locations, all in California.

The Cinerama Dome first opened in 1963. The venue survived a demolition scare in 1998, when a proposal by Pacific Theatres would have stripped the dome and replaced it with restaurants and a movie multiplex. However, fierce public opposition overpowered the effort and Pacific Theatres agreed to keep the location intact.

“There’s a reason every movie lover in L.A. is in mourning,” filmmaker Rian Johnson told The Times in April.

“If you lived in this town and loved movies, you’ve had life changing experiences in that complex,” Johnson said via email. “But more than that, it’s easy to forget how the ArcLight completely transformed the moviegoing experience: assigned seating, plush comfy chairs, no late entry to screenings, these were all considered wild and crazy ideas when they first opened. The ArcLight loved and respected movies, and you felt that from every person who worked there. This is a huge, huge loss.”